Sunday, February 14, 2010

ponderings on Valentine's day

Valentine's Day . . . love by some . . . hated by others. I have found very few people who are indifferent about this day. It is not as cut and dry as single people hate it and married people love it either. There are married and single people in both camps. I suppose a lot of it has to do with you past experiences with this day. Having been without a date for all but one of the Valentine's days in my life, it is not my favourite day. I do not really need to be reminded that I am single.

This year, I started thinking back to the excitement of Valentine's Day when I was a kid. I would look forward to the day and to the candy and cards at school. It was always exciting at the end of the day when you got your envelope or bag full of Valentine's cards. It made you feel special . . . important. Never mind the school rule that you either brought a Valentine's card for every kid in the class or for no one in the class. Getting all those cards meant something then.

So when did things change? When did Valentine's Day become something to dread? When did it become a day that is just filled with reminders that I am single? When did we name it "Single's Awareness Day"? More importantly, why did it change? And should it have changed?

I do not think there is anything wrong with a day to celebrate love. Nor do I see anything wrong with people taking time to show their love to their significant other. It is good. I dare say, necessary. But that does not mean that it is always easy for those without a significant other to watch it. And I am not sure all the commercialization of the day makes it really authentic for many people. How may people do something on the day because they feel like they are supposed to? Really, this should not be something you do only one day of the year, but something you do more often and more regularly.

In the last few years, some of my other single girlfriends and I have started doing something I really appreciate on or around February 14. We have started taking Valentine's Day and using it as a day to celebrate the friendships we have with one another. Rather than sitting at home feeling sorry for ourselves because we do not have a date, we get together at someone's house and enjoy spending time together. We eat food . . . lots of chocolate . . . play games, watch a movie, or whatever else we may feel like doing. We focus on letting each other know they are loved and appreciated by and important to their friends. In doing this, Valentine's Day has become something I enjoy again . . . something I look forward to like I did when I was a kid.

And, maybe, that is the most important thing about Valentine's Day . . .letting those in your life who are important to you know that they are important to you and letting them know they are love.If you have a significant other, finding a special way to tell them that on this day. If you do not have a significant other, then letting your friends and family know they are important to you and that you love them.

{Note to single people specifically, since I am one}

Maybe there is nothing really wrong, either, with the longing that single people have for a significant other. God did create men and women to be together in marriage. And we should not feel like like we have to deny those desires and feelings. What matters is how we deal with them.

Do we allow them to get us down and depressed? And possibly angry at God because we are still single?

Or do we turn them into prayers to God? For the work He is doing in us now to prepare us for the possibility of marriage in the future. For the person we will marry and the work God is doing in them to prepare them.

One of my mentors challenged me with the idea of turning these desires and longings into prayers to God about it. It has not always made it easier to be single when I thought I would be married by now, but it has made a difference in how I deal with those desires and longings. Maybe it is something that can help another person.

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